Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Book Review (#60 of 2014) An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture by Dr. Andrew M. Davis

An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture
This short book gives motivation for and a step-by-step guide to memorization of entire books of the Bible. Davis begins by making the case that memorization is commanded. For example, Deuteronomy 11:18 "You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes."


Moreover,  memorization is beneficial for personal holiness (Psalm 119:11, Romans 12:2) and for the edification of the church (2 Timothy 3:16). Davis remarks that Scripture memorization contributes to good Bible teaching. As Mark Dever's number one mark of a "healthy church" is expositional preaching, book memorization contributes. A person who has previously memorized an entire book is very familiar with its flow and purpose; he can identify when someone uses or expounds on a verse out of context.

The author then gives a step-by-step method for book memorization. First, the one-verse-a-day method (w/10% more time given as leeway, 26 weeks for Ephesians):
Day 1: Read the verse out loud 10 times, including the verse number (this is important). Read it while freezing your eyes every single word on the page, memorize the words. Cover the page and repeat it 10 times from memory.

Day 2: Recite the previous day's verse 10 times from memory. Read it again as an aid.
Read the new verse out loud 10 times, including the number. Read it while freezing your eyes every single word on the page, memorize the word. Cover the page and repeat it 10 times from memory.

Day 3 and onward: Recite the previous day's verse 10 times from memory. Read it again as an aid.Read the new verse out loud 10 times, including the number. Then recite all previous days' verses together once, including yesterday's.Read the new verse out loud 10 times, including the number. Read it while freezing your eyes every single word on the page, memorize the word. Cover the page and repeat it 10 times from memory.

He also includes a "high school" method of learning 6 verses a day. This requires a bit more time per day. In any case, you'll end up needing 30-45 minutes a day. You can use your commute, shower, etc. for your complete memory recitations.
 


After memorizing a book you can either continue to recite it-- maybe one day a week give it time for this (ie: Monday recite Ephesians entirely, Tuesday Philippians, etc.), or "Kiss it goodbye" and just focus on memorizing another book.  With a longer book (like Matthew), he recommends "kissing goodbye" the first chapters as you memorize later chapters, so that you do not recite the entire long book from beginning to end every day. Even after kissing it goodbye, whenever you hear verses from that book or study it, you will remember what you learned from it and its overall flow.

Years ago, my wife and I memorized Romans 8. I did not follow this method exactly, but whatever works. I could not recite it to you today. As of this writing, I currently memorize other things (foreign language vocab) using Anki (free software) and (without software) I memorize one verse of Scripture in Turkish a week. I am pondering using Davis' method to memorize entire books of Scripture in languages rather than English (kill two birds with one stone, essentially). I wonder if I would get as much out of it, personally.

I give this book 4 stars out of 5. It's 99 cents for Kindle, you can't really go wrong. I'm now curious to look at Davis' other books.

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